“Showing up” consistently is an essential part of any digital marketing plan, but particularly for anyone trying to have a personal brand, and striving to make a genuine connection with their audience.
A key part of any digital marketing strategy really, but in particular any content marketing, social media marketing and relationship marketing strategy, is being there. You can’t necessarily build the relationships you want with your audience if you’re not actually putting yourself in front of them in a consistent way. Now this applies to Instagram obviously, but this really applies to any platform you choose to show up on.
And I’m all about that genuine connection, so showing up is my jam.
But I didn’t start out this way, and even now, I sometimes falter with it. That’s OK; it’s totally fine to take a break, or change strategies if something is no longer working for you and you need to reassess. I also know how easily digital marketing efforts can fall by the wayside when things in business pick up and it starts to get busy.
And that’s just one of the three reasons I’ve identified for why people aren’t able to show up.
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So I’ll start there, with what I think is probably the most common go-to excuse.
I don’t have time
And I get it, honestly I do. I do this blog, my newsletter, Instagram, and IGTV and they take up so much of my time. And I low-key want to add a podcast to that, because apparently I’m a sucker for punishment.
The thing is that showing up consistently doesn’t have to be a big time suck. It’s just how it’s working out for me right now and maybe that will change for me in the future.
In reality, showing up doesn’t need to take more than 20 minutes out of your day. To be consistent, you don’t need to be documenting every moment of your day and quite frankly that would probably be pretty boring for your audience.
I know that most of my day is spent sitting at a desk and typing and that’s hardly the most compelling content.
So instead of looking at it like, “I have to show up all the time” I try to make it smaller and more manageable.
So I have to show up once. And then tomorrow I have to show up once again.
I also find it helpful to use the pomodoro technique for showing up. I set myself a 20 minute timer and spend that 20 minutes doing whatever it is I need to do to be present in my digital marketing that day.
That might mean throwing up an old photo on my stories and writing some text over it. That takes about 30 seconds. Then I might spend 10 minutes outlining a blog post, or an IGTV. Another 15 minutes filming that IGTV, and that last 5 minutes writing a caption or two.
Often you’ll find that the timer goes off and you decide to just set it for another 20. Other times you’re done and onto the next, but you still got something done today, and you still showed up.
And the more you do it, the easier it becomes to find new and interesting ways to be there consistently.
The second barrier I see people butting up against is probably another one that is a lot of people’s go to and that’s
Fear / shyness
I know these two things are maybe different but the result is kind of the same. There’s a voice in your head telling you not to do it.
Maybe, you think someone’s going to find it stupid or no one’s gonna engage back. You don’t like how your voice sounds or you’re otherwise uncomfortable with the way you look or maybe... you just aren't that comfortable with your own ideas.
It’s funny, I’m quite obsessed with other people’s perception of me, but only if I know those people personally and even then it’s not everyone I know. There’s a handful of people in my life, usually ones who have judged me negatively in the past, who I constantly think “what are they going to say about this? Is this giving them another reason to dislike me?”
I'm not a therapist but identifying what’s behind the fear or shyness can go a long way in helping you to show up more consistently or at all.
So for me, identifying that there were people who followed me whose opinion I was afraid of led me to muting and / or restricting those people so they can still see me but I can’t see them. So I don’t even know if they still follow me if they watch my stories or whatever.
That’s only a band aid of course, because they can still comment or message me, but if it is too much you’re allowed to block people as well. It’s your space.
If that’s not your problem, maybe you aren’t confident in your ideas. In that case, you can practice them! I sometimes film a Story chat-to-camera 5 or 6 times before I’m happy with my delivery.
If I'm not sure about a blog post I've written, I'll double check my research, or leave it a day so I can look at it with fresh eyes.
You can also find your person who you can bounce things off - even if they’re just a ‘yes’ man - and tell it to them like how you’d tell it to your audience if they happened to be there.
When it comes to physically showing up, and showing your face, you can start off small.
You don’t have to have yourself in the thing right away. If you're filming something have it be a POV thing instead of a talk to camera thing. If it’s a photo you can also do POV or just have parts of your body in there, or the classic look over my shoulder type photo.
And if you’re worried no one is going to engage with you… the answer is two-fold.
You get back in engagement what you put out in engagement. So you can’t really sit there and say “no one engages with me” if you aren’t putting in the effort to encourage that engagement. And that does mean reciprocating but it also means making it possible for people to engage with you.
So popping a caption up that just says “I had a busy day” isn’t going to get much, if any, engagement. Instead, tell people why your day was busy and then ask them how their day was.
And the second is, fake it. OK. this is like… a dirty secret in social media marketing. I’m not saying join comment pods or anything like that because that’s going to mess with your algorithm, but if you have a friend who you trust and is in line with your target audience, maybe flick them a message and say “hey this caption is really important to me, would you mind replying to it?"
And I'll tell you another secret: you can engage on your own Stories. You can reply to your own question boxes, and vote in your own polls. No one will know.
OK so, the third barrier is
I have nothing to say
And this is bullshit. Everybody has something worth saying, because we’re all free thinking people who have the ability to absorb information, form opinions or new ideas about it and then regurgitate it in our own words.
So there’s two things at play here. First off, perhaps you haven’t done the initial work of figuring out who your target audience is and what it is they want to know from you.
That obviously evolves as your audience grows and you get to know them better, but of course if you don’t know what people want, how can you figure out what to say. So I actually have an IGTV that was all about identifying your audience and coming up with content ideas so maybe you can go back and watch that one. Or get in touch with me and we can set up a consultation / brainstorming call!
The second thing at play is that you’re probably overthinking it. Nothing you say has to be revolutionary or a brand new idea. Some people will have already heard the thing that you’re saying, that’s a given.
Assuming that everyone knows what you know is a mistake and it’s holding you back.
You had to learn those things from somewhere, so why can’t people learn those things from you. It’s the circle of life.
Furthermore, you don't have to say something profound every time you show up. Showing up can be just to tell people you had a busy day. You don’t need to put more thought into it than that, every single time you show up. When I started my Instagram and I wasn’t running a business, approximately 80% of my captions were about the weather. And you know I still managed to grow an audience with it.So there you have it.
Those are the three barriers I think people butt up against when it comes to showing up consistently. I’d love to know if you have any other ideas about why you can’t show up, please leave me a comment or you can DM me because I really would like to know if there’s more going on there than perhaps I’ve realised.
Until next time, be kind to yourself!